Shortly after I found out I had rheumatoid arthritis I had to start using a cane to help with my mobility.
I started using it a lot around my house, but knew that if I was ever going to get out of my house, I would have to use the cane in public as well. It was such an emotional experience for me. People stared at me. I could hear them whispering to each other and it hurt. I was no different than everybody else. I was a human being, but felt like I was a freak because of the reaction I was getting from everyone else. Once I got home, I 'd cry.
My Great Idea Worked
I wanted to stay home and never leave the house again, but I knew that wasn’t an option for me. One night I sat there dwelling on how I could possibly leave the house again. I came up with a great idea and got to work that evening.
The next day I left the house. I had to go to the grocery store to pick up my medication. I still got the stares but this time they were very short lived. People would look at me for a couple of seconds, but then turn away. I felt much more confident.
Why should I be humiliated? I have a disease that takes my mobility from me, a disease that I can’t control. When I reached the pharmacy to pick up my medication the pharmacist looked at me, then at my cane.
“What does your cane say,” she asked?
My cane says “It’s not nice to stare.” The night before I decorated my cane with stickers that said "It's not nice to stare."
And with that she looked away.
“Take that,” I thought to myself. Sure it might have made others feel a bit uncomfortable, but it made me feel confident, and I walked proud with my newly decorated cane.
Published On: March 10, 2008